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Lycos buys WhoWhere

Internet search provider Lycos says it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire WhoWhere for $133 million in stock.

Aiming to build its Net portal, Internet search provider Lycos announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Net information service WhoWhere for $133 million in stock.

The deal represents another move to gain larger audience reach in the increasingly competitive Web portal sector.

WhoWhere is a provider of email and home page technology, yellow- and white-page listings, classified ads, and other information.

With the acquisition, Lycos users will be able to access Lycos.com, Angelfire.com, WhoWhere.com, Mailcity.com, and Tripod.com. Lycos is the fourth most popular Web site destination behind America Online, Yahoo, and Microsoft, according to the company.

Robert Davis,

Lycos president and CEO, said the acquisition is part of the company's focus on communities, rather than on becoming a portal.

"The concept of portal doesn't work for me anymore, because if you talk about long-term revenue out of the Web, you need to not just get [users onto the site] but also keep them there all day," Davis said. "Communities do that."

He added WhoWhere's services, by keeping users on the site longer, will increase Lycos' prospects for generating more advertising and e-commerce revenues.

WhoWhere offers directory service and email service to 9.3 million registered users.

Dale Fuller, CEO of WhoWhere, said his company chose to partner with Lycos over others because of the company's management.

"We saw the strength of management that Lycos had, compared with all the other portals that were out there, and the fiscal responsibility they had, and a shared vision very similar to ours," Fuller said in today's conference call. "And we saw the growth factor that they would have over the next years would be enormous compared to anyone else out there in the market. That is what we bet on."

WhoWhere will continue to operate from its Mountain View, California-based office as a business unit of Lycos, which is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. Fuller is now a Lycos vice president and general manager of the WhoWhere division.

Lycos Acquires WhoWhere
Lycos CEO Bob Davis (right) and WhoWhere CEO Dale Fuller shake on the deal.